My 3 Monsters: July 2010

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A Slice of Humble Pie

Have you ever had a day that just put you in your place?  You're going about your business feeling pretty OK about yourself and then something happens that knocks you right back down to size.  Several years ago Brent and I made the decision that whenever one of those "opportunities" presented itself in our lives, we were going to laugh.  To just take it in a stride and move on.  Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to wring an ounce humor out of those situations.  Other times the humor just writes itself.

Brent and one of our friends have been called to teach an autistic boy during Primary every Sunday. They love this assignment.  He is a great kid.  He is exceptionally smart and kinda' spunky.  He does NOT like me.  When he acts up, all Brent has to do is ask if he needs to go get his wife.  This sweet boy will immediately reply, "No wife!  No wife!" and comply with whatever request is being made of him.  I'm OK with that.  Lots of people like Brent better than me.  Yesterday, as they were sitting together in the classroom, Brent asked him if he could write his (Brent's) name on the chalkboard.  He did and Brent was duly impressed.  Time wore on and this kid was getting to the end of his patience.  Three hours of church is a lot for a boy, autism or not.  He started to take his shoes off and untie Brent's tie, which they are working on teaching him not to do.  Brent would not allow him to do it and continually attempted to divert his attention.  Finally fed up with the situation, this little guy walked over to the chalkboard, picked up the chalk and wrote "Big Fat Meanie" right under Brent's name.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Awesome!

We all need those people in our lives who give us the brutal truth.  Because every balanced diet should include a slice of humble pie now and again.


I Love to Laugh

I really do.  I love to laugh a lot.  And I'm pretty OK with laughing at myself.  Another thing to know about me:  the Pottery Barn Catalog is my favorite "magazine".  OK, I'm fine with you laughing at me, too, but be honest out there . . . I know I'm not the only one who still has the issues from two summers ago with the pages all dog-eared.  Anyway . . . as much as we love to pore over these "magazines" and dream about doing our own houses, don't you ever look at the staging in the pictures and think, "What the . . ."?  That's why when one of my bestest friends, Tammy, sent me a link to Catalog Living, I was immediately hooked.  Without ever having seen the site I knew I was going to love it forever and ever.  It touts itself as, "A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs" and it is HI-larious.  It tells the ongoing story of Gary and Elaine, the couple who keep a string of old-fashioned bouys and a life preserver in their mud room.  The couple who eat lobster and limes on their pool deck every evening and leave open books and trays of bottled water laying around their otherwise immaculate home.  The writing is ever-so witty and clever. Go check it out and come back to thank me later!


Great Big News!!!!

OK, so while this seems like a great big deal to me, it's probably not even a blip on the radar screen of YOUR life. Today I can cross an item off of my bucket list.  Amanda over at kevin and amanda (dot) com made my handwriting into a font.  Why are you not squealing like a little girl?  Maybe you didn't hear me.  MY HANDWRITING is now a font!  Head on over to Amanda's other site, Fonts for Peas, to check it out.  She just posted 14 new fonts today and they are all so fun.  You can download any or all of them for free.  (Mine is called Pea Amy G if you want to get it for yourself.  Whatever.)  Thanks Amanda!  And, no, I will not be using this font for all my posts.  I just wanted to see how it looked.  *hee, hee*

I'm Bringin' Girly Back

Nifty Corsage Bracelets!!

I read an article in the paper a few weeks ago about Summer of Dresses, a movement to celebrate femininity started by a group of women who decided to wear dresses at least once a week all summer long.  What a fabulous idea!  I guess it has really caught on world-wide thanks to Twitter and a website (summerofdresses{dot}com). Then  I saw a girl at the store the other day who, to accesorize her outfit, had wrapped a piece of narrow ribbon around her wrist several times and tied it in a bow.  Cute as can be.  Super simple.  I have thought about that several times since then.  I love really girly things like dresses. And ribbons. And flowers.  And ribbons WITH flowers . . . . I never felt more girly in all my life than when I went to prom and got to wear a pretty dress and a nifty wrist corsage.  (The wrist kinds are the best because you avoid the whole awkward pin-it-on-your-chest moment.  And you can point at things with a subtle flourish to draw attention to both your flowers AND your manicure in one fell swoop.) Why, WHY are corsages only for special occaisions?  It doesn't seem at all fair, so I decided to create a variation on a corsage that even a . . . ahem . . .  more mature, mom-like lady could pull off.

Start with a couple of silk flowers, which you will completely deconstruct.  Remove all of the plastic pieces from between the layers and discarded the largest, outer-most layers until the flower is the size you want.  You may find that when you discard a few of the layers and all the plastic "structure" your flower is too flat.  (That's why I used two flowers.)  Stack up your remaining layers and stick a cute scrapbooking brad through the hole in the center.  Don't open up the prongs of the brad yet, though.  Don't do it!

Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap loosely around your wrist about four times PLUS an extra twelve inches.  Find the center of your ribbon and poke the prongs of your brad (the one in the center of your flower) right through.  NOW you may open the prongs of your brad to hold everything in place.  You'll probably want to cut another piece of your ribbon about one inch long and hot glue (or fabric glue) it on the back of your long ribbon to cover up the brad and secure it for good. (No picture of that step.  I'm sure y'all can handle it.)

Now you've got a little lovely to sport with your Sunday best or your jeans and t-shirts.  Fun, huh?  Wanna' see what it looks like in yellow?

Wanna' see what it looks like when you wear it?

I absolutely ADORE it.  It's time ladies . . . let's bring girly back!

I'll be linking up to a bunch of other crafty girlies here:

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!



Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards . . .

I've spent the past several days trying to rearrange my living room, in the hopes of magically finding enough space for the computer out there.  As opposed to in my bedroom where the kids eat chips and cookies in my bed no matter how many times I yell ask them ever so nicely not to.  It must stop!  However, as I've mentioned before, my home is a mere 1300 square feet.  And my living room is a hot mess of a space.  We have kind of a great room concept on the main floor of the house.  The living room, dining room and kitchen are all basically one room, the living room separated from the other two by a staircase that runs up to the kids bedrooms.  A staircase, open on both sides, that is smack in the middle of my living area.  We also have huge windows on almost every wall, a sliding glass door that we NEVER use, and a fireplace that we also never use.  Not once. (hello . . . Arizona here . . .)  There is no reasonable way to arrange the furniture without wasting a ton of space. 

I have a dream that some day I'll get to design my own house.  I'll have light switches and electrical outlets exactly where I want them.  In every room.  And brand new toilets that no one has ever used but us -- but that's a quirk to  post about another day.  I also dream about living in this cute little house forever and buying the house next door to use as a guest house/ extension of our living area, with a breezeway between the two.  We'll see how that one works out. 

I digress . . . the living room.  I may have it figured out.  I don't know.  Here's what I've done.  It's not ideal, but it works.  I guess.
 Ideal would be having the budget to get a new sectional, remove the fireplace and the weird little window by the front door, and move the light switches to a more logical place,  as seen here:

But maybe flipping the whole thing around.  Whatever.  I alternately love the new layout and hate it, my opinion changing almost every time I walk through the room.  I'm stressed.  So yesterday I made a delicious summery dessert to help take a load off.  Because everything is better with ice cream, right?  It was so delicious that I had another piece at 3:30 this morning when I was sitting in the middle of my hot mess of a room, entirely unable to will myself to sleep.
{click to enlarge}
Suggestions on the room?  Please?  So I can sleep tonight . . .


A Memo to My Immediate Family:

Re.  Bill Paying Day Protocol

Dear family,

When it is bill paying day (ie. around the first and fifteenth of each month), please keep your distance.  You will know it is bill paying day by noting the following signs:
  1. I WILL be sitting at the computer for an extended length of time and you will NOT see cute and fun blogs on the screen.  
  2. I WILL holler several times for you to bring me things (ie. my checkbook, my wallet, and my anxiety pills).
  3. I WILL be taking Tylenol. 
  4. I WILL NOT be smiling.
 On bill paying day, please observe the following rules:
  1. DO NOT ask if I am almost done so you can use the computer.  At any point. I am not done.  You will know when I am done.
  2. DO NOT play hide-and-seek in my "office" (ie. my bedroom).
  3. DO NOT ask me to take you somewhere and then cry about how we never go anywhere.  I feel no sympathy on bill paying day.  You should already be aware of this.
  4. If you are approaching me with anything other than an ice-cold Coke, do so with caution.
  5. If you have been at work all day and missed the joy of bill paying day, you SHOULD enter the home in the evening with a peace offering (ie. an ice-cold Coke) and expect your children to be extra needy for attention.
 By showing extra diligence in observing this protocol, we can hopefully avoid any more days like yesterday.  Thank you for your attention in this matter.

The Mom
CFO, Gregson Family


Happy "Embrace your Geekiness" Day!!

Who knew there was such a things as this?!  But Google doesn't lie, so, yeah.  Have a good one.  Maybe, if you're like me, you assume geek,nerd, and dork are all interchangeable terms for the same type of person.  But, like me, you'd be wrong.  What better day, then, for us all to enlighten ourselves about how to tell the difference between Geeks and Nerds?  And what better source for just such enlightenment than Wikipedia?  Have a great day, my geeky friends.



This morning as I laid in bed, weighing out the pros and cons of getting up, I was enjoying the playful banter between my children through the ever-so-thin wall that separates my bedroom from the rest of the house.  My youngest son said, "Guys!  Guys!  I think my spirit looks like John Cena.  You know, the professional wrestler?"  Say what ?!  Moments later my older (wiser, in this instance  ;D) son replied, "Yeah.  My spirit probably looks like Taylor Lautner."  And then they were back to the video games, leaving me wondering if I had actually heard all of that.  And, come to think of it, wondering what the lesson was about in Primary yesterday . . . .


New Adventures

I have been called to be the president of our Young Women's Organization at church.  It's a little overwhelming, I must say, but I'm excited.  I'm a good follower.  Great at doing what I'm told.  Not so great at knowing what to tell people to do.  I've had a little while to think about this before it was announced in church today.  I've been alternately sick to my stomach and elated.  I am thrilled to get to work with the girls for a little bit longer (and to keep going to Girl's Camp every summer).  I'm sick about all the responsibility.  The fact that I'll have to actually have opinions about things.  Give good advice.  Be an example of righteous living.  I'm not sure I'm good at any of those things.  I realized, finally, that my main responsibility is to love the girls.  To want what's best for them.  I can DO that.  Then I'll just live with the faith that everything else will take care of itself.  Or that my two fantastic counselors will take care of it for me. 

Anyway, I've spent a lot of time on the church website acquainting myself with all of the "job requirements" and trying to get some ideas for meetings coming up that I will now be responsible for planning.  This song is one of my favorites this year.  Enjoy!!


You Know You Go to Circle-K Too Much When:

The "kid" behind the counter refers to your purchase as "the usual" and asks you for relationship advice.  Yes, folks, I have a problem.  A 79-cent-Coke-a-day problem.  And I am ashamed.  Sorely ashamed.  Could this possibly rock bottom?  Will this be enough for me to end it for good?

Who am I trying to kid?  I'll go to Circle-K again tomorrow.  But maybe a . . . different. . . Circle-K.  Because soda out of a fountain is just soooooo much better.


Happy Fourth of July?

My kids think this is the worst year ever.  Eh-Ver!  The fourth of July was on Sunday.  Halloween is on Sunday. The sky may as well be falling.  This detail might go unnoticed by many children, but to my children who aren't allowed to swim on Sunday -- or Trick-or-Treat -- it is a great big deal.  Now, before you pin my "Meanest Mom in America Award" on my chest, allow me to explain.  We're kind of strict about Sabbath activities around these parts.  We have been for years. It's no surprise to my children.  And I figure this scenario is going to happen maybe twice in their entire childhood experience.  It's more important to me to set a consistent example for them, rather than adapting our family values according to convenience.  OK, now I will accept that award.  And step off of the soap box. 

I tell you these things ONLY to explain how I attempted to compensate for my children's perceived loss yesterday.  Not to pat my self on the back, but {pat,pat} I made the most delicious pizookies last night.  Sugar cookie -- hot and buttery and still a little gooey -- with raspberries and blueberries and melting vanilla ice cream up top.  To. Die. For!!  And they each got their very own pan of warm, melty goodness. I wanted to take a photo because they were so pretty and patriotic, but they were gone almost instantly.  

(And, just so you know, we did go out to watch fireworks as a family.  And I let the kids run through the sprinklers that turned on in the park while we were waiting.  Whatever.  It's really, really hot here. Even at night.)

(Also, my kids will have at least two opportunities to dress up in their costumes and collect candy prior to Halloween so, like, don't feel so sorry for them.)


Trick Out Your Blog

Yesterday I extolled the virtues of Google.  It has been an invaluable resource in customizing my blog and really making it my own.  Today, since I have already done some of the leg work, I thought I'd share some of the links that were particularly helpful to me.  {Really, I'm just trying to keep the links handy for myself in case I want to change anything. :-)}Keep in mind that I am by no means a graphic designer and I had next to no experience with HTML code before I started blogging.  If I can do it anyone can!  

Amanda at Kevin and Amanda dot com was my original inspiration.  The first tutorial I ever followed was "How to Make a Scrapbook Blog Background".  After following that I was able to play around and learn how to create all kinds of images.  Once you know how to make your own background (or if you just want to use the cute ones that are readily available online) you can "Assign Different Backgrounds for Each of Your Blog Pages" .   So fun!!  My personal favorite, however, is "How to Use a Cute Font for Your Blog Post Titles".  Amanda makes the cutest fonts out there  and you can download them for free!  Definitely check this site out!

ShabbyBlogs has a bunch of great tutorials in addition to their cute free backgrounds.  This is where I learned how to add a post separator.  

Beth at A Mom's Life taught me how to create a Favicon.  A favicon is that cute little 3 next to my web address in your browser address bar.  It also appears on the browser tab when my page is open or next to the link if you bookmark it.  It's a super cute, super custom, super simple addition.  Without a custom favicon, the Blogger "B" will appear in those places.  Not as fun. :-(

Isabella on HubPages has a couple of great, easy to follow tutorials: "How to add a personal signature to your blog posts" .

I learned how to customize the Newer and Older Post links at the bottom of my pages at SmartBloggerz.  That's how I got the cute little house and arrows instead of the text down there.  It's not a big deal, but it's a nice little detail.  You don't even have to switch to images.  This tutorial will help you just change the wording if you want.

You can add a link in the bottom corner of your screen that takes you back to the top of the page at Techknowl.  It's nice to not have to scroll back up to the top after reading a long post, or several posts. 

If you want to get a little more tricky, Blogger Sentral teaches how to stick different widgets to specific blog pages.  This is how I got different headers on each of my blog pages.  I created all the different images, added them as picture widgets between my front page header and post section, and then "stuck" each one to the page on which it belongs.  It is also how I got my recipe links on the recipes page without typing them all in and linking them individually. Not the simplest trick I did, but for sure one of my favorites.

Color Magic Photography offers a quick little chunk of code you can add to hide the side bar on your stand alone pages.  I feel like it makes those pages a little less busy.  That may not be important to you, but I wanted the focus to be on what I was spotlighting on each page with as few distraction as possible.

I know it's a little scary at first to click on that Edit HTML tab.  None of us wants to kill our blog by tinkering too much.  I think each of the links above mention this, but it bears repeating one more time:  ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR TEMPLATE BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES!!!  The button to do it is right there at the top of the page when you open up your template.  That way if you accidentally break your blog, you can restore it without losing anything.  Good luck! 

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